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Pickarski Bios

John Pickarski, ChFC
Founder and Retirement Planner

John founded our firm in 1993 after a 15-year career in law enforcement, a subsequent MA, and a successful stint doing planned giving for a Columbus-area hospital. From the beginning, his vision was to create a firm that would give small businesses and individual clients access to the tools and advice that bigger companies were utilizing.

His friendly, one-on-one style of working with people caught on, and John Pickarski & Associates, LLC quickly grew from a small estate and tax planning firm to a resource throughout the region. In just a few short years he was handling referrals and partnerships from lawyers, accountants, and professionals in Ohio, Kentucky, and beyond.

Today, John continues to serve as a retirement planner and the heart and soul of our firm. When he’s not visiting with clients across the country, he can be found fishing, spending time with his wife and grandkids, or serving as a referee for high school and college football.

Michael Pickarski, AIF, MBA
CEO and Retirement Planner

Mike Pickarski joined the family business in 2012 after a 10-year career in commercial banking. His first order of business was to expand the firm and bring several new talents and specialties in-house, completing the transition to the Pickarski Financial Group that clients know today.

Along with his father, Mike sets the tone for the company alongside his retirement planning work with individual clients. A graduate of Wittenberg University with an MBA from Ohio Dominican, he points to client victories (like retirement parties) as the best part of his job.

When he’s not looking for ways to grow and innovate the family business, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, Megan, and their two kids. He also serves as a referee for football and lacrosse for both high school and college competitions, sometimes working games alongside his father and brother.

Pam Fordham-Smith
Executive Assistant

Pam serves as a bridge between John, Michael, and our retirement planning clients around the country. For 15+ years she’s been a visible fixture in our office, drawing on her love for people to make sure everyone we work with gets personal attention.

A Florida transplant, Pam is often tasked with finding the right person or answer in a pinch. When she’s not talking with clients or conquering a mountain of paperwork, you can find her spending time with her grandkids or spoiling her Yorkie.

Alisha Karns

Alisha isn’t just the operational leader of Pickarski Financial Group, she’s also our model of dedication. Having gone from intern to president in just two years, she is tasked with keeping the company running smoothly and turning big-picture concepts into real-world achievements.

A Wittenberg University graduate, Alisha is a perfectionist who relishes taking on new challenges and tough deadlines. When she is away from the office, she loves spending time with her family and enjoying the outdoors.

Susan Hamilton
Office Manager

Every business needs an indispensable person who keeps everyone glued together and on the same page. At Pickarski Financial Group, Susan is that person. As someone who answers phones while pitching in on taxes, accounting, and filing, she knows where to find answers for both clients and coworkers.

With a career that has included previous experience in fields as far apart as insurance and trucking, Susan is constantly focused on getting things done. A people-person at heart, she teaches aerobics classes in her spare time.

Bernard Abbeyquaye, CPA, MBA
Tax Accountant

With more than a dozen years’ experience working with taxes, Bernard is a master of federal and state tax guidelines. He holds an MBA from St. Johns and has handled taxes for thousands of businesses and individuals. Although he spends much of his time on filings, he particularly enjoys talking with clients and teaching them new ideas and strategies.

Originally from Ghana, Bernard made his way to Pickarski Financial Group after 15 years of investment and accounting work in New York City. Away from work he is devoted to his wife, Jennifer, and their three children.

Tiwuan Atchley

As an accountant and payroll liaison, Tiwuan (“Ty” to his friends and clients) spends a lot of time looking through figures, reports, and tax returns. Ask him what he likes most about working at Pickarski Financial Group, though, and he’ll tell you it’s building relationships with his clients.

Outgoing and energetic, Ty is a graduate of Wittenberg University. As one of eight siblings raised by a single mother, he was instilled with an unstoppable work ethic and became the first in his family to earn a degree. He enjoys spending time with his future wife and looks forward to being a first-time father in the coming months.

Shari Hedrick

With nearly a decade of experience in accounting, Shari has a keen eye for keeping business books in order. She has been called a wizard at QuickBooks, but clients especially love that she’s willing to take the time to make sure they get the personal attention and explanations they need.

Having worked her way from the front desk to an accounting position, Shari brings energy and ambition that make her a perfect part of our team. When she’s not examining transactions and reports, she enjoys spending time with her family or visiting local lakes to go boating with her boyfriend.

Victoria Butz
Payroll Specialist

If you need to know your payroll is in the perfect hands, Victoria is the person you want to talk to. She keeps an eye on every detail – from employee hours to direct deposits and payroll taxes – to keep things running smoothly.

Having learned all about the power of numbers from her mother, herself a NASA accountant, Victoria is working steadily toward a finance degree. When she’s not processing payrolls or studying textbooks, this soon-to-be mom spends time with her husband and their dogs.

Cheryl Bader

With a reputation for being everywhere all at once, Cheryl is one of the most versatile members of the Pickarski Financial Group team. She has a hand in day-to-day accounting, processing tax returns, looking after payroll records, and traveling to clients for in-person visits.

A Clark State alumnus, Cheryl has 15+ years of accounting experience. Helping clients to resolve QuickBooks issues and see their businesses run smoothly is her favorite part of the job. Away from work she spends time with her four kids and two grandchildren.